First played in 1895 in the USA, volleyball might be a relatively niche interest in the UK, but there are believed to be over 500 million volleyball players worldwide.

Its origin can be linked to tennis, handball and basketball. Of course, the audiences for volleyball cannot rival that of the biggest football betting occasions, yet it is making progress.

Non-volleyball fans are most likely to tune in during the Olympics, which volleyball has been a part of since 1964.

While most will be familiar with standard indoor volleyball and the beach variety, there are numerous other variations of the sport, including towel volleyball and Ecua-volley. 

Before you start investigating the volleyball in-play betting pages, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the objective of the game and rules. 

Object of the Game

The object of the volleyball is the get the ball over the net and ground it on the opponent’s side of the court.

In turn, you are aiming to stop the other team grounding the ball on your side. A team wins a rally by either grounding the ball on the opponent’s side, the opponent hitting the ball outside the court or failing to return.

A point is available for each rally. If a team wins a rally, they will serve for the next point. After the ball crosses the net, a team has three hits to make their return. 

Size Of The Teams

Six players are on court in a game of volleyball. There are three players on each team, located on either side of the net.

Players must rotate one position each time their team wins service. Only players at the front of the court can jump and spike or block at the net. Players located in the backcourt must jump from behind the attack line if they are going to hit the ball over the net.

Volleyball is a more specialised sport than you might think, with players fulfilling very specific roles, similar to the NFL.

Substitutions are utilised throughout a game of volleyball – some players specialise in spiking the ball, while others are used as blockers at the net.

The FIVB introduced a new role called the Libero in 1998. This player wears a different uniform and can be subbed into the backcourt for any player.

They are not allowed to spike the ball or hit it over the net, but they specialise in receiving serves and defending the back of the court. A point must be played between the Libero going on and off the court, meaning they cannot play the full game. 

How to Win In Volleyball

Volleyball matches are played to a best of five sets. A team needs to win three sets to be declared the winner. The first four sets are played to 25 points, while only 15 points are needed to win a decisive fifth set. 

Teams need to have a two-point advantage to claim a set, however, and this can go on indefinitely until a team goes two points clear.

Volleyball Court Dimensions And Equipment

A volleyball court is nine metres by 18 metres, split into equal halves with a net separating the two sides. The net stands at 2.43 metres tall for men’s competition and 2.24 metres for women’s events. 

There is a line three metres from the net on each side to divide each half into a frontcourt and backcourt. Those sections are then split further to give six separate areas on each side of the court.

These areas are how the location of players is decided before a point. The three players must rotate clockwise by one space each time they win the serve. So, if a player is in the ‘2’ spot, they most to ‘1’ and so on.

Volleyball Rules for amateurs

Each side of the court is accompanied by a ‘free zone’, which players can enter to play the ball.

The lines on the court count as ‘in’ if the ball hits them, just like in tennis. ‘Antenna’ are added to the end of the net as an extension – the ball must pass between them when hit over the net. 

Regulations for the ball itself are very similar across different volleyball governing bodies. The FIVB dictates the ball must be spherical, have a circumference between 65 and 67 centimetres and weigh between 260 and 280 grams. 

Key Volleyball Rules

  • Six players are on the court during a volleyball match with three players on either side of the net.

  • A court of 9 x 18 metres is used with a line splitting the attack court and defence court for either side. The net is located in the middle of the court and stands at over two metres high for both men’s and women’s competition.

  • The volleyball must be spherical and made out of leather or synthetic materials. It should be 65-67 centimetres in circumference and weigh between 260 and 280 grams. 

  • Teams win a point when the opponent fails to return the ball or if their return lands outside the court. If it hits the line, it counts as ‘in’. 

  • When a team wins a point, they will serve the next point. Each time a team gains service, their players must rotate one spot clockwise on the court.

  • Substitutions are allowed between points during a game of volleyball. 

  • Each team can dedicate a Libero to be brought in to play specifically in the backcourt at any point.

  • A team can touch the ball three times on their side of the net, but a player cannot touch it twice in succession. It is a rebound sport, meaning players cannot catch the ball.

  • Players cannot touch the net while attempting to play the ball. Players also cannot go under the net onto the opponent’s court.

  • Matches are played over a best of five sets format. A team needs 25 points to win each of the first four sets and 15 points to win the fifth set. The winning team needs to be two points clear to claim the set.


Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.